New strands in activist training network

This autumn a new Training for Trainers course at Ecodharma will support social and environmental activists to take sustainable activism trainings across Europe. Since 2009 the Sustaining Resistance course has provided methods of working effectively with the personal and inner dimension of activism, equipping people to avoid burnout and to better empower themselves for action. The Sustainable Activism – Training the Trainer will meet the interest amongst people who want to provide similar trainings for grassroots activists in their own countries.

“Our work with social activists is a secular reworking of much of the Buddhist inspired material we have developed within our Engaged Buddhist Training,” explains Carol from the Ecodharma team. “There’s been so much interest in the work that we can’t do it all ourselves. So now we’re running courses to train facilitators in the skills and perspectives needed to carry this work into more countries, and to give the project a greater reach.” This month Ecodharma are working with activists in Madrpopular assembly in Spain 2011id and the Dutch speaking world to support courses taking the work into new networks in those regions. In October the Sustaining Activism – Training the Trainer will see facilitation groups from Poland, Germany and Romania joining the Ecodharma team to learn skills and gain confidence to design and offer similar work for themselves.

These different initiatives are deepening some fertile connections for Ecodharma. The work in Madrid will be taking place with groups connected to the M15 and Indignats movement, which inspired the Occupy movement in the USA and other parts of Europe in 2011. M15 has recently spawned a political party in Spain, which won 8% of the national vote in the European Elections. “It’s great to find ways that our work can inspire people connected with M15. Some of us at the Ecodharma Centre joined the occupation of Placa Catalunya in Barcelona during the first days of the M15 movement  a few years back. We could feel there the energy and community spirit that the movement is tapping into,” says Carol. “So, we’re excited to help add strength and capacity to their work.” Similarly, the team is enthusiastic about training up the native speaking facilitators in Northern and Eastern Europe. “A key aim of this project is the empowerment of people. So it’s an obvious step to train people to be able to run the kind of courses we offer for themselves in their own networks,” Carol explains.

The Ecodharma Sustaining Resistance course provides methods of working effectively with the personal and inner dimension of activism, equipping people to avoid burnout and to better empower themselves for action. It also offers tools which support more skilful inter-personal work in groups and networks. The aim of the work is to support people to be more effective in their social engagement and to be able to keep doing it for the long haul.

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